If you are a registered nurse who already has a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you might have given some thought to the idea of taking further qualifications to boost your career. However, it’s often tricky to go back to college when you’re already working or have other life commitments. The good news is that there is an answer to this problem – online learning. Keep reading to find out why it might be the best choice for your needs.
Can You Study Nursing Online?
Let’s start by busting a myth: these days, it is perfectly possible to study for a vocational qualification such as a nursing program online. If you’re wondering how that’s feasible, it’s because the courses use a blend of virtual learning and local clinical placements. You will study for your academic modules online, and then undertake your clinical hours at a suitable location that’s close to where you live.
The modules can be taught using a variety of innovative teaching and learning methods, such as:
- Live lectures streamed via video
- Prerecorded lectures to watch at your leisure
- Live seminars and student presentations on Zoom
- Interactive quizzes in a virtual environment
- Online reading and audio materials
- Written assignments
- Online discussion forums
- Independent and group research projects
- Online exams
You will have plenty of instruction on how to use your college’s online software, and access to all the support services you may require.
Clinical placements will be organized by you and your college at a relevant healthcare facility local to your home. This is your chance to put what you’ve learned into practice in the real world, getting valuable hands-on experience and personal feedback. It’s a fantastic opportunity to broaden your professional network and learn more about the advanced job roles that might be open to you after graduating.
What Are the Advantages of Taking a Nursing Qualification Online?
You can anticipate enjoying a wide range of benefits by choosing to study for your next nursing qualification online. Firstly, it broadens the opportunities that are available to you. For instance, if you want to become a nurse practitioner in Oklahoma, you’ll have the choice of enrolling at a college in Texas or any other part of the country you like without having to move.
This flexibility also extends to when and where you study. It will be mostly up to you to choose your learning schedule, whether you’re an early bird who likes to work in a coffee shop first thing in the morning or a night owl who prefers to stay up late and study in their home office. This makes it far easier to fit your education around your current job role and family obligations in comparison to courses where you need to attend classes on campus. You could even study at work on your lunch break.
Online qualifications can also be cheaper. This is partly because the tuition fees tend to be lower than those for traditional campus courses, but also because you have fewer additional costs such as commuting to class or term-time accommodation. Plus, if you have kids, you might save on childcare.
Lastly, virtual study is a great opportunity to level up your IT skills at the same time as boosting your nursing knowledge. You’ll be using cutting-edge software in a supportive environment, making it a little easier for you to learn how to use new technology as and when your workplace introduces it.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Online Learning?
Generally speaking, there are no downsides to choosing to undertake your next nursing qualification online. The quality of teaching that you receive will be the same as if you were attending classes on campus, and employers do not look down on distance learning. In fact, it’s so common these days that you’ll probably find most healthcare professionals have engaged in it at some point in their careers.
This is particularly true because most nursing programs still involve some in-person training in the form of clinical placements. As such, you will still be getting all the hands-on experience that you require to perfect the skills you’re learning.
Having said that, online learning isn’t for everyone. You’ll need to be computer literate, plus happy with the fact that you’ll be communicating with your teachers and fellow students virtually rather than in person. In addition, you must be self-disciplined enough to take full responsibility for setting your study schedule and making sure that you complete all of your assignments on time. Of course, you can simply think of this as further training in time management and organization for your career.